Mumia Abu-Jamal’s partial victory


This 13 May 2016 video says about itself:

10th Anniversary: Rue Mumia Abu-Jamal plus Paris May Day

Powerful report of special commemoration of naming of French street after Mumia. Betsey Piettte of IAC refers to slide show (not visible) and also report & video of Paris May Day 2016.

By Fred Mazelis in the USA:

Mumia Abu-Jamal wins right to reargue appeal of his 1982 conviction

5 January 2019

In a significant legal victory for Mumia Abu-Jamal, a ruling by a Pennsylvania Superior Court judge on December 27 gives the long-imprisoned activist and journalist a new chance to appeal his 1982 conviction for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther who spent nearly 30 years on death row before prosecutors agreed in 2011 to a sentence of life imprisonment without parole, has steadfastly maintained his innocence.

Justice Leon Tucker issued a 37-page opinion last week that concluded, as reported by the Associated Press, that former Justice Ronald Castille of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court should have recused himself from a 2012 appeal rejecting Abu-Jamal’s final appeal. Tucker, pointing to numerous statements made by Castille when he was Philadelphia District Attorney between 1986 and 1991, advocating the death penalty in cases of killing of police officers, cited the “appearance of bias”.

At the same time, however, Tucker rejected other arguments presented by Abu-Jamal’s attorneys—that Castille had played a “significant” role, when he was DA, in the appeal of the original conviction, before going on to rule on the appeal as a judge.

Castille had received campaign contributions from the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which had loudly dismissed all claims that the defendant had not received a fair trial and had pushed for Abu-Jamal’s execution. Tucker relied on a US Supreme Court ruling in 2016 that Castille should have recused himself in a similar case. It was this decision that spurred the latest effort by Abu-Jamal’s attorneys. Tucker, in his opinion, said Abu-Jamal should be given another chance to argue his innocence in front of the state’s high court, now that Castille is no longer a sitting judge.

Abu-Jamal, now 63 years old, has spent well over half his life behind bars after his conviction and sentencing in the 37-year-old case, which Amnesty International, among numerous other advocates and observers, has charged was tainted by unfairness and racial bias.

A national and international campaign has been waged on behalf of Abu-Jamal, who became a focus of attention and opposition to the outrages that characterize the “criminal justice” system in the US, especially in the application of the death penalty. It was reinstated in 1976, part of the rapid shift to the right by the political and judicial authorities after the labor, civil rights and antiwar struggles of the 1960s and the defeat of US imperialism in Vietnam.

The original trial of Abu-Jamal took place in the early years of the Reagan administration, amid a law-and-order frenzy that would soon lead to the highest rate of mass incarceration in the world. Defense attorneys have brought forward evidence of many instances of flagrant misconduct in Abu-Jamal’s case, including an affidavit of a court stenographer that the trial judge in the case, Albert Sabo, had declared, “Yeah, I’m going to help ’em fry the nigger.” Sabo presided over a trial in which important eyewitness testimony was excluded, confessions were fabricated, and the defendant himself was excluded from most trial proceedings.

It was not until 2008 that Abu-Jamal’s original death sentence was thrown out, with an appeals court ruling that found that jury instructions in 1982 had been fundamentally flawed. Abu-Jamal remained on death row, however, after the US Supreme Court overturned the appeals court in 2010. Amidst continuing litigation, prosecutors finally agreed to reduce the penalty to the life sentence several years later.

During his long stretch of imprisonment, Abu-Jamal has continued to write as well as to speak on Prison Radio. He attracted attention with his 1995 book Live From Death Row. His latest book was published in 2017 and has a foreword by well-known journalist Chris Hedges.

Abu-Jamal has also suffered from severe health problems, exacerbated by neglect and inadequate treatment in prison. A recent “Democracy Now” radio program reported that he was diagnosed with hepatitis C and had obtained the necessary treatment only after a successful lawsuit.

The police union, prominently assisted by Maureen Faulkner, the widow of the slain officer, has kept up a vitriolic campaign against Abu-Jamal, and has received bipartisan support in this campaign from the political establishment in Pennsylvania. In 2014 the state legislature went so far as to pass a “revictimization” law, in response to a recorded commencement speech that Abu-Jamal had delivered at a Vermont college. The bill forbade prisoners, even in some cases those not yet convicted, from speaking or acting in ways that would “re-traumatize” victims of crimes. A state judge threw out the law in 2015 as “manifestly unconstitutional.”

Civil rights lawyer David Rudovsky, who worked on an early Abu-Jamal appeal, was quoted by the Associated Press on various elements of the Abu-Jamal case that point to ongoing police and prosecutorial wrongdoing and discrimination.

“The race bias, the judicial bias, the questions of identification and prosecutorial commentary or misconduct—we’re still struggling with them”, said Rudovsky, a University of Pennsylvania law professor.

Abu-Jamal’s attorneys have 30 days within which to file a notice of appeal to reargue his original conviction before the state’s highest court. At the same time, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner must make a decision on whether to appeal Judge Tucker’s decision. Krasner was elected in 2017 as a liberal, promising various criminal justice reforms. He has stopped requiring cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felony charges.

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Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and Donald Trump, by Noam Chomsky


This 31 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Noam Chomsky on Pittsburgh Attack: Revival of Hate Is Encouraged by Trump’s Rhetoric

On October 27th, a gunman stormed the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 Jewish worshipers. The massacre has been described as the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. After the shooting, we spoke with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned professor, linguist and dissident, about Pittsburgh, Israel’s policies toward Gaza and other recent white supremacist and right-wing attacks in the U.S.

Victims of Pittsburgh, USA synagogue massacre funerals


This 29 October 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Glenn Greenwald: Violence Like Pittsburgh Shooting Is “Inevitable Outcome” of Racist Scapegoating

The massacre of 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday capped a hate-filled week in America, following the shooting of two African Americans at a Kentucky grocery store by a white man and the arrest of avid Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc for allegedly mailing 13 bombs to CNN and political opponents of President Trump. We speak with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept.

By Samuel Davidson in the USA:

Thousands attend funerals for victims of Pittsburgh synagogue massacre

2 November 2018

Thousands of people have been attending the funerals for the victims of the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh this past Saturday. The outpouring was a sign of popular opposition to that horrific act of anti-Semitic violence and the political climate that contributed to it.

On Tuesday, services were held for Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, of Edgewood, and brothers Cecil, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54, of Squirrel Hill and Daniel Stein, 71, of Squirrel Hill. On Wednesday, thousands of mourners attended three services for Joyce Fienberg, 75, of Oakland, Irving Younger, 69, of Mount Washington, and Melvin Wax, 87, of Squirrel Hill.

On Thursday, services were held for husband and wife Sylvan Simon, 86, and Bernice Simon, 84, of Wilkinsburg, who were both killed in the attack. A separate service was held for Richard Gottfried, 65, of Ross. Gottfried a dentist, worked part of his time in clinics providing free care to refugees and those that couldn’t afford dental care.

Funeral services will be held today for Rose Mallinger, 97, of Squirrel Hill, the oldest of the victims.

The 11 people were shot and killed Saturday while attending morning services at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Religious leaders have invited the public throughout the country to attend Solidarity Shabbat services Friday night and Saturday to express their sympathy for the victims and to oppose anti-Semitism. The victims were killed last Saturday while observing the Jewish sabbath or day of rest.

Attorneys for Robert Bowers, 46, the chief suspect in the massacre, entered pleas of not guilty to 44 counts, including 11 counts of murder, for the killing of 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue. On Wednesday, a federal grand jury in western Pennsylvania indicted Bower on 11 counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious freedom resulting in death, and 11 counts of using a firearm during a crime of violence.

Bowers, who is reportedly a truck driver from nearby Baldwin, is accused of entering the synagogue shortly before 10 am last Saturday carrying an AR-15 assault rifle and 3 handguns and shouting “all Jews must die” as he began shooting.

Social media posts made by Bowers in the weeks and days before the attack make clear that he targeted the synagogue because of work done there in connection with HIAS (formally the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), which relocates refugees from war-torn Syria, Latin America and throughout the world to the Pittsburgh area. HIAS is the oldest refugee organization in the world, having assisted refugees for more than 130 years.

Just before his bloody assault, Bowers wrote, “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

The political climate for this rampage has been created by the fascistic speeches of President Donald Trump. In the past few weeks, the president has referred to the caravan of Central American refugees as an army of invaders out to steal jobs, commit crimes and steal social services from native born residents. He also accused Democratic donor George Soros, who is Jewish, of funding the caravan, an accusation that was taken up by far right and fascistic web sites.

These xenophobic rants incited the violence in Pittsburgh and other acts, including the sending of pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and critics of Trump by an avid Trump supporter and the murder of two African-Americans at a grocery store in Kentucky.

“Trump uses language like ‘invaders’ and ‘army’ whenever he is talking about poverty stricken migrants coming from Central America”, Sam, a coal miner from the Pittsburgh area, told the World Socialist Web Site. “This is like music to the ears to mentally ill people like (Bowers). Trump’s rhetoric is reinforcing their illusions that immigrants are responsible for our problems.”

Sam specifically singled out the Democrats for their role. “I don’t know what to say about the Democrats. A few months ago, some of them were saying to get rid of ICE but they quickly dropped that. It’s all politics to them.

“They want to tiptoe around the issue (of immigration). They don’t really care about children being separated from their parents, or people living in poverty being treated like criminals just because they are trying to come to America to have a better life.

“Obama deported more immigrants than anyone else. They have ceded the issue to Trump who sprouts this hatred. For the Democrats the issue is ‘Russian meddling‘ …

“The Democrats are allowing the president to claim that people from Central America or the Middle East are a threat to America. They are giving people who are not doing very well someone to blame for their problems–not the CEOs and corporate executives who are making obscene profits. Immigrants are not the reason the coal companies are giving miners the worst possible health care package, or why the company can draft (forced overtime) a miner to work weekends, or miners are dying from black lung.”

Even as the Pittsburgh funerals were taking place, Trump gave a White House speech Thursday night, once again denouncing the “invasion” of immigrants and accusing those seeking to escape the dire conditions in the Central American countries long ravaged by American imperialism of being human traffickers, drug dealers and violent criminals. The president said he planned to strip migrants of the right to claim asylum if they were inside the US and he gave a greenlight to US troops being sent to the border to shoot children, “if they throw rocks at our military.”

NBC News reported that the president was scheduled to give the provocative speech earlier in the week but postponed it because of the Pittsburgh killings.

When Trump arrived in the city Tuesday, he was met by thousands of demonstrators who protested in Squirrel Hill and other areas of Pittsburgh. About 200 students from the University of Pittsburgh and other universities in the area, hastily gathered outside UPMC hospital when students learned that Trump had gone there to visit wounded police officers.

Jackie, Madison, and Haley, students at University of Pittsburgh, attended the protest. “A lot of people specifically told him not to come here and he came anyway,” noted Jackie.

Madison said that immigrants are “definitely used as a scapegoat for a lot of things that are unfair. I think the way we’ve been handling it as a country is not the right answer. Some of the things that the Trump administration has proposed are inhumane.” Tomika Kinsley, a certified nurse’s assistant said, “Trump shouldn’t have come here when everyone was telling him not to. He promotes hatred and seeks to divide people.”

Pierre Mballa and Gill VauGhn-Spencer, students at Point Park University in downtown Pittsburgh, denounced Trump for creating the climate for the synagogue massacre. Pierre said, “I think we are living in a time when our President is spreading a lot of hate and vitriol. When events like this happen, the two can’t help but be correlated. We have protests when our president is coming and that just shows that people are not supportive of him and what he does.”

Gill added, “It’s sad to see that people are so divided. He is spreading so much hate that even now, when he comes to pay his respects, people hate it, nobody wants him around because he created the situation that allowed this to happen.”

“The people who he is labeling as invaders are people from this continent and South America”, Pierre said. “America is a country made up of immigrants. I am an immigrant. If Trump passes that executive order saying that people born in the United States are not citizens, you are basically going against the fundamentals of what the USA is.”

Workers in other cities also denounced Trump’s anti-immigrant tirade.

A Fiat Chrysler worker from Kokomo, Indiana told the WSWS, “If we go down the road of scapegoating immigrants, all workers will be victimized the same way. The government is ripping families apart and treating people seeking asylum worse than animals. It’s time we wake up and realize that powerful forces are trying to divide us, and we stand up to oppose it.”

An autoworker in Detroit added, “The rich need an external enemy to draw attention away because workers are starting to go after them.”

Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Suspect Offered To Help White Supremacist Dox A Blogger On Gab. Robert Bowers offered to help League of the South’s Brad Griffin find a more recent address for a blogger who closely tracked white supremacists: here.

ARRESTED NEO-NAZI WAS PROUD OF HIS VIEWS Jeffrey Clark, the 30-year-old man federal agents arrested after he called the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting a “dry run,” wasn’t shy about being a white supremacist. But it was only after his family reported him that authorities arrested him on gun charges. [HuffPost]

Pittsburgh synagogue massacre mourners protest Trump visit


The head of the march against Trump's presence in Pittsburgh

By Samuel Davidson in Pennsylvania, USA:

Thousands protest Trump’s visit to Pittsburgh synagogue following mass shooting

31 October 2018

Thousands of people took part in a protest on Tuesday against the visit of President Donald Trump to the Pittsburgh synagogue where 11 congregants were murdered Saturday morning by a gunman driven by anti-immigrant racism and hatred of Jews.

A social media message by the gunman, Robert Bowers, posted shortly before he walked into the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh and began shooting worshippers at Saturday morning services, made clear that he specifically targeted that synagogue because it participates in an organization helping refugees from Syria and Central America settle in the Pittsburgh area.

The worst ever anti-Semitic attack in US history followed a series of campaign speeches and tweets by Trump attacking the caravan of Central American immigrants heading to the US border as “invaders” and pledging to mobilize the US military to stop them. Trump has combined these fascistic incitements with denunciations of “globalists” and affirmations of his own “nationalism”, along with unsubstantiated charges that the billionaire Jewish Democratic Party backer George Soros is funding the caravan.

The overwhelming sentiment among the more than 5,000 residents of the largely Jewish Squirrel Hill neighborhood who marched on Tuesday, alongside students and opponents of anti-Semitism, racism and the government persecution of immigrants from many different ethnic and national backgrounds, was the conviction that Trump was politically responsible for inciting the murderous actions of Bowers, as well as the wave of mail bombs sent last week by Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc to prominent Democrats and Trump critics.

A large number of students from nearby Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and local high schools participated in the protest.

The organizers included the Pittsburgh chapter of Bend the Arc, a Jewish organization that issued an open letter to Trump telling him not to come to the city until he had clearly disavowed “white nationalism” and halted his mass incarceration of immigrants. The outpouring of support for the Jewish community and anger against Trump had already by Tuesday morning resulted in some 70,000 people signing their names to the open letter.

Two Muslim-American organizations raised over $150,000 in just over two days to cover the costs of the funerals of all 11 people killed in Saturday’s attack. Funerals for three of the victims were held on Tuesday, including the funeral for 71-year-old Daniel Stein, who had just become a grandfather before he was gunned down by Bowers.

Stein’s family announced that it had declined Trump’s offer to visit with family members. Stephen Halle, Stein’s nephew, denounced Trump’s statement that the synagogue should have had armed guards to protect worshippers. “Everybody feels that [his words] were inappropriate,” he told the Washington Post and other media outlets. “He was blaming the community.”

A section of the Pittsburgh anti-Trump march

While the organizers of the march told participants it was not a political event, the prevailing sentiment and the hand-made signs carried by marchers showed how politically charged it in fact was. Signs directly attacking Trump included: “Trump Apologize for Stoking Hatred or Go Home,” “Hateful Words Incite Hateful Actions,” “Neo-Nazis are Not Very Fine People” and “Trump, You Have Blood on Your Hands.”

Those marching at the head of the protest carried banners declaring that Trump was “not welcome in Pittsburgh” and listing the demands of the open letter.

The outpouring of support for the Jewish community and for immigrants points to the mass opposition in the working class and sections of the middle class to Trump’s far-right policies. At the same time, it highlights the cowardice and complicity of the Democratic Party, which offers no principled opposition to Trump’s attacks on immigrants and democratic rights more broadly.

The Democrats have responded to the Pittsburgh massacre by maintaining their silence on Trump’s threats against the Central American caravan, downplaying his direct political responsibility for the growth of fascist violence, and criticizing him almost exclusively for being a “divider” instead of a “uniter.”

While Trump works to build up an extra-parliamentary movement of the far-right, the Democrats promote the FBI, the CIA and the military as the upholders of stability against “extremists” on both the left and right who “sow divisions.” They are spearheading the drive to censor the internet so as to block the dissemination of progressive, anti-war and socialist views.

A protester holding an anti-Trump placard

Trump’s visit to Pittsburgh was an embarrassing demonstration of his unpopularity. It is hardly an exaggeration to say he stole in and out of the city like a thief in the night.

He made no remarks, gave no speech and did not hold a press conference. His flight touched down in Pittsburgh mid-afternoon and the presidential motorcade made its way to the scene of the massacre, which had been cleared for several blocks around by the police. He was met by Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of Tree of Life and the Israeli ambassador to the US. Accompanying him were his wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He held a brief photo-op and then departed.

Even as Trump laid flowers and placed stones to honor the dead, he could hear the roar of boos from the mass of protesters, kept more than a block away by the police.

The White House had invited congressional leaders of both parties—Mitch McConnell, Charles Schumer, Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi—to accompany him to Pittsburgh. All of them declined. Both Pennsylvania senators—Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Pat Toomey—likewise declined the White House invitation.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Puduto and Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald refused to meet Trump on his arrival in the city.

The World Socialist Web Site spoke to participants in the protest. “I feel that what Trump is doing is taking the hatred and legitimizing it, bringing it into the mainstream”, said Triona, who is from Pittsburgh but currently lives in Philadelphia. “There are a lot of problems and Trump is seeking to scapegoat immigrants, Jews, people of color and minorities”, she added.

Triona and John

“Words matter”, said John, who was with Triona. “He is promoting and encouraging these people.”

“I am against the attack on minorities and immigrants”, continued Triona. “We believe that Trump fosters and creates this kind of climate in which this kind of thing is encouraged. He is a white nationalist and I don’t want him in our city.

“There has always been a subculture of white nationalists, but he definitely has given it a platform and is a leader of it. He is giving it a voice and it is starting to spread. The shooter at the synagogue was doing it because of their support for immigrants and Trump has been attacking them.”

“I feel that Trump is promoting hatred against immigrants and minorities and this encourages these people to commit these acts of violence,” said Buena, a young woman from Pittsburgh. “The politicians don’t represent the people. They are for the rich.”

She continued: “Trump is attacking immigrants, but we are all immigrants, and they are just trying to have a safe place to live and raise their families. They are not invaders or an army.”

Buena Maya

A young unemployed folk singer told the WSWS he agreed with the need for an independent political party. …

“I consider myself more of an anarchist, but I know that the working class has to be in power, they are the majority. I look around and see all of these police and people think they are our friends. I like to tell people their history as coal and iron police from way back. They are not for us.”

Anti-Trump marchers in Pittsburgh

‘President Hate’ Greeted By Protests And Unity In Heartbroken Jewish Pittsburgh, by Aiden Pink, October 30, 2018.

Sarah Silverman Says Trump Has ‘A Starring Role In Our Current Episode Of Domestic Terrorism’. Oct 31, 2018. By Bonnie Azoulay.

Donald Trump, Meet America’s Jews. They Are Protesting Your Hate. By Batya Ungar-Sargon, October 31, 2018.

President Trump slammed protesters who opposed his visit to Pittsburgh after the synagogue mass shooting — and used the trip to bash the media at an election rally in Florida. Trump belittled the protest as “small,” even though thousands marched through the Squirrel Hill neighborhood as he toured the Tree of Life synagogue with his wife and Rabbi Jeffrey Myers Tuesday: here.

The children of a Missouri Republican running for the state General Assembly has called on voters in his district not to vote for him due to his extreme anti-Semitic views: here.

Republican Steve King Condemned By Iowa Jews As ‘Crusader’ For Pittsburgh Shooter’s Racism. October 31, 2018. By JTA: here.

PITTSBURGH OFFICIALS BOYCOTT TRUMP Local officials declined to meet the president, who visited Pittsburgh four days after an anti-Semitic gunman opened fire on a synagogue and killed 11 people. Trump was greeted by protesters, including the Rev. Susan Rothenberg, who shouted, “It’s not about you. Let the families grieve. This is our neighborhood. You are not welcome here!” [HuffPost]

PENCE’S ‘RABBI’ THINKS JEWS ARE GOING TO HELL The Christian “rabbi” who offered a prayer for the weekend’s victims of neo-Nazi terror at a rally with Vice President Mike Pence believes that Jews who do not accept Christ as their savior are condemned to hell. [HuffPost]

HOW GAB RECRUITED RACISTS Gab CEO Andrew Torba claims Pittsburgh synagogue suspect Robert Bowers doesn’t represent his website. But Torba has spent years recruiting racists like the accused killer. [HuffPost]

Pittsburgh Shooting Is A Reminder: Jews And Muslims Are In This Together. By Alex Kane, October 27, 2018: here.

Anti-Semitic massacre in Pittsburgh, USA, mourners speak


Flowers for David and Cecil Rosenthal in Pittsburgh

From the World Socialist Web Site in the USA:

Participants in vigils for Pittsburgh shooting victims speak to the WSWS

I don’t think the Democrats are doing anything to oppose Trump’s message

By our reporters

30 October 2018

In Pittsburgh, a vigil has been ongoing since Sunday outside the Tree of Life Synagogue, where a gunman murdered 11 people Saturday morning. Streams of people came to lay flowers, light candles and leave remarks on the sidewalk and street.

Impromptu vigils have also been held outside the homes of many of the victims, with people stopping to leave flowers, write messages and show their support.

At one such vigil outside the home of Cecil Rosenthal and David Rosenthal, two brothers killed in the attack, Val, a young woman who had left a comment opposing Trump’s hate speech, told the World Socialist Web Site: “Through solidarity we can regain any sense of humanity we had. Hate is not new. It is there because of leaders like Trump who encourages racism in a way that incites hatred and violence towards our brothers and sisters of all faiths, identities, backgrounds, here and all around the world.

“When you have a military or fascist-type leader anywhere in the world, it is a problem for the whole world. They are using the same type of hate speech against people whom they seek to victimize.

“I don’t think the Democrats are doing anything to oppose Trump’s message. I don’t have any confidence in what they are doing. They don’t want to bring up the topics of migrant workers and immigrants and that is what we want. Everyone has to be welcomed.”

Another person at the vigil who didn’t want to leave her name for fear of reprisals said, “I don’t understand how someone could go into a place of love and sanctuary and do so much harm and hate.”

Referring to Trump’s statements, she said: “I definitely think that this country is more divided and that this is fueling hate. I don’t know why this man did this and I don’t want to say why, but Trump is trying to make people hate immigrants and minorities.

“I wholeheartedly support immigrants’ right to come to the United States. People are being forced to flee their home not because they want to, but because of the violence and wars, much of which has been caused by the United States.”

New York City

Coby in New York City

Hundreds of students waited outside the Kimmel Center at New York University to attend a vigil held for victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

Coby, who studies film and television at NYU, said, “It is really a sad thing that someone could do this because of someone’s religion. To hear that one of the victims was a Holocaust survivor especially affected me.”

Anesa

Anesa, an NYU student majoring in cultural studies, said, “I am going to the vigil because it is everyone’s responsibility to stand up and condemn white supremacist violence. It is sad to hear about all the communities that suffer from this violence and expect it but feel powerless to stop it.

“Looking at how our country is being run, the elections in Brazil, and the violence around the world is alarming. There are not really places people can go to feel safe.”

Detroit

A participant in a Detroit vigil said, “It’s not just American society where this is happening. Brazil just elected a fascist. Germany is struggling with neo-Nazis in their government.

“We all have the same history. A hundred years ago, it was anti-Catholic because we didn’t have Latinos then. The capitalists will do it to anybody. White people were forced into the coal mines and their children were used as labor. It’s not about race.

“Dan Gilbert [CEO of Quicken Loans] got $600 million to fix downtown Detroit, but they say there’s no money for schools. Yet all the city officials who helped him are Democrats and blacks. While we are fighting each other according to race, they stuff money in their pockets.”

“Why should I be afraid of some caravan?”

I want to mourn with all of my beloved Jewish people, but as the Israeli Right exploits this tragedy for their political gain, aided by their apologists in the American Jewish establishment, it is clear that even in our mourning, we are divided. By Simone Zimmerman.

On Day Of Mourning, Jewish Pittsburgh Braces For Divisive Trump, by Josh Nathan-Kazis, October 30, 2018.

Trump Is Using Ivanka As A Prop To Whitewash Anti-Semitism, by Molly Jong-Fast, October 30, 2018.

Killings at Kentucky store were hate crime, police say. Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers visited the First Baptist Church Sunday to tell the congregation that the gunman who attempted to attack the black church last week and then went on a shooting rampage at a nearby Kroger store was a white racist: here.

Donald Trump’s xenophobia, resistance to it


A vigil for the victims of the Pittsburgh anti-Semitic massacre at New York University

By Paul Scherrer and Kate Randall in the USA:

Vigils for victims of Pittsburgh shooting express anger over Trump’s racist incitements

30 October 2018

Vigils continued Monday across the US in the wake of the mass killings Saturday at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which left 11 people dead and six injured. Since the shooting tragedy, vigils and other gatherings have been held in many cities, including San Francisco, Detroit, Boston and New York.

Funerals for the eight men and three women who were killed are set to begin Tuesday. The victims range in age from 54 to 97 and include a married couple and two brothers.

Robert Bowers, the gunman, appeared in Federal Court Monday afternoon for an arraignment and was denied bail while he is being held over for trial. He faces at least 29 federal charges …

At the vigils, the common theme has been solidarity with the victims, the survivors and the Squirrel Hill community where the synagogue is located. But they have also expressed hostility to the hate speech from President Trump and the belief that the president has incited incidents of violence over the past week.

Last Wednesday, police arrested Gregory A. Bush in connection with the shooting deaths of two black people at a grocery store in Kentucky. He had tried to enter a predominantly black church just minutes before the fatal shootings.

On Monday, a suspicious package addressed to CNN headquarters in Atlanta was intercepted. The FBI said the package was “similar in appearance” to the 14 pipe bombs addressed to prominent Democrats and Trump critics and recently intercepted. Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, faces five federal charges in connection with the bomb packages.

At a press conference Monday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders doubled down on White House claims that the president’s whipping up of anti-immigrant and xenophobic sentiments, and his incitements to violence, had nothing to do with the recent killings and mail bombs.

Asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta to identify those in the media to whom the president was referring when he claimed that the “fake media” was fueling violence, Sanders replied: “I think it’s irresponsible of a news organization, like yours, to blame responsibility of a pipe bomb that was not sent by the president—not just blame the president, but blame members of his administration for those heinous acts. I think that is outrageous and I think it’s irresponsible.”

Sanders also announced that the president and Melania Trump would be visiting Pittsburgh on Tuesday. There is widespread opposition in Pittsburgh to the Trumps making such a visit to the city.

According to the Washington Post, more than 35,000 people have signed an open letter by Pittsburgh Jewish leaders to President Trump opposing his coming to Pittsburgh until he denounces white nationalism and ends his attacks on minorities and his continuing assault on immigrants and refugees.

“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism,” reads the letter. It continues: “ President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you stop targeting and endangering all minorities… [and] until you cease your assault on immigrants and refugees.”

The letter was first circulated Sunday by the Pittsburgh Chapter of Bend the Arc, a Jewish organization that describes itself as “uniting progressive Jewish voices across America to fight for justice for all.”

The former president of the Tree of Life synagogue, Lynette Lederman, told CNN on Monday: “The country can stop the hate speech. We know that it comes from the top… I do not welcome this president to my city because he’s the purveyor of hate speech.”

A protest against Trump’s appearance has been set for noon to 3 pm Tuesday in Pittsburgh. As of Monday evening, the location was being worked out with city officials.

Bend the Arc largely supports the Democratic Party. But the points raised in its open letter and the vast support it has received stand in stark contrast to the positions being taken by the Democratic Party, both locally in Pittsburgh and across the country.

A review of the statements, web sites and twitter accounts of local and state Democratic officials shows that they have made no mention of immigration or the refugee crisis. Nor have they clearly linked the anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic rhetoric used by Trump and the actions of far-right elements within his political base.

This is despite the fact that social media posts by Bowers show that he specifically targeted the Tree of Life synagogue because of its work with HIAS (formally known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) to relocate refugees from war-torn Syria, Latin America and other parts of the world to the Pittsburgh area. He also used Trump’s phrase, “invaders,” to characterize the Central American workers in the caravan making its way through Mexico to the US border.

On the web and Twitter pages of Senator Bob Casey, Representatives Mike Doyle (Pittsburgh) and Conor Lamb (western Pennsylvania), Governor Tom Wolf and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, none of them make a single reference to Bowers being motivated by the anti-immigrant rants and anti-Semitic allusions of the president.

Casey, Wolf, Doyle and Peduto all posted statements to the effect that more had to be done on gun control. Mayor Peduto mentioned Trump, but only to refute his proposal that synagogues employ armed guards. None of them denounce Trump’s persecution of immigrants or defend the impoverished workers in the caravan.

TRUMP: MIGRANTS WILL GO INTO ‘TENT CITIES’ President Donald Trump said he planned to put people from the migrant caravan who apply for asylum into new “tent cities” that would be “all over the place.” Speaking to Fox News, he said: “We’re catching; we’re not releasing. If they apply for asylum, we’re going to hold them until such time as their trial takes place.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP FLOATS END TO BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP Trump said he plans to sign an executive order that would remove the right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil. [HuffPost]

WHITE HOUSE SENDS 5,000 TROOPS TO BORDER The Trump administration is sending at least 5,200 active-duty troops to the border this week in what officials defended as a necessary response to a roughly 3,500-person migrant caravan still weeks from reaching the United States. [HuffPost]

On Monday, the Trump administration and the Pentagon announced the deployment of 5,200 soldiers across the US-Mexico border by the end of the week. This will be the largest combat-ready military mobilization on US soil since the urban rebellions of the late 1960s. The military has given the initiative the mission name “Operation Faithful Patriot”: here.

PRESIDENT HEADS TO PITTSBURGH DESPITE PLEAS Trump plans to visit Pittsburgh today, four days after an anti-Semitic gunman killed 11 people at a synagogue — even though the mayor and Jewish leaders in the city have asked him to stay away. [HuffPost]

More than 66,000 people have signed an open letter to President Trump telling the president to stay away from the grieving city following the mass shooing at a local synagogue that killed 11, the Washington Post reported: here.

HOW HATE FLOWS FROM FOX TO TRUMP TO PITTSBURGH This is how hysteria and hatred about migrants spread from Fox News to Trump — and then to Pittsburgh. And it’s not just Fox: The NRA regularly traffics in the sort of inflammatory rhetoric and conspiratorial anti-Semitism that has boiled over into violence in the past week. [HuffPost]

DOMESTIC TERRORIST: LISTEN TO TRUMP’S RHETORIC Attorneys for a Trump supporter convicted in a domestic terrorism plot aimed at slaughtering Muslim refugees asked a federal judge to factor in the “backdrop” of Trump’s campaign rhetoric when deciding their client’s sentence this week. [HuffPost]

British Jewish socialist solidarity with Pittsburgh massacre victims


London vigil for Pittsburgh

By Marcus Barnett in London, England:

Monday, October 29, 2018

Jewish socialists hold vigil for Pittsburgh victims

JEWISH socialists condemned Donald Trump yesterday for having “lifted the lid” for racists and fascists in the United States.

Julia Bard of the Jewish Socialists’ Group (JSG) warned that
the far right feels emboldened by the US president.

She was speaking ahead of a vigil at the Battle of Cable Street mural in east London last night, organised in solidarity with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, where a shooting at a synagogue killed 11 people on Saturday.

Suspect Robert Bowers is in custody over the attack on a Hebrew naming ceremony at the Tree of Life synagogue in the city’s Squirrel Hill area.

Most of the victims were elderly, with Rose Malinger, a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor, and retired twins Cecil and David Rosenthal among them.

Ms Bard’s statement reads in full: “We send our solidarity, condolences and love to the Jewish community in Pittsburgh.

“Robert Bowers, a nazi sympathiser, targeted these particular Jews because the Tree of Life congregation are local partners of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which works to resettle refugees.

“The most extreme fascistic and white supremacist ideas and movements had been marginalised in the US by the success of the civil rights movements of the 1960s and ’70s, but racism remained part of the fabric of American life.

“Now, though, Trump’s vicious hostility to all America’s minorities, including people of colour, Muslims, Jews, indigenous peoples and Hispanics, has lifted the lid, and hardcore racists and fascists once again feel free to declare and act on their inhuman beliefs.”

JSG said on its Facebook event page for the vigil that it would collect funds for Nelma (North East London Migrant Action) “to show that the far right can not break us apart with fear or turn us against each other.”

Pittsburgh Synagogue Murder Spree Latest In 4 Decades Of Organized Anti-Semitic Attacks. By J.J. Goldberg, October 28, 2018: here.

How Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Hate Led To A Synagogue Shooting. By Ari Ne’eman, October 27, 2018.

Former president of Pittsburgh synagogue says Trump not welcome: ‘He is the purveyor of hate speech’: here.

More than 22,000 people have signed an open letter to President Trump telling the president to stay away from the grieving city following the mass shooing at a local synagogue that killed 11, the Washington Post reported. Read more here.

THE WORLD MOURNS The Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower turned out the lights in honor of the 11 people killed in an anti-Semitic shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Eight men and three women were slain by suspected gunman Robert Bowers, including two brothers and a husband and wife. In response, Muslim groups have raised thousands for victims of the atrocity, and leaders of a Pittsburgh Jewish organization said President Donald Trump should not visit the city because he’s “not welcome.” [HuffPost]

A crowdfunding campaign formed by two Muslim groups has raised more than $100,000 for the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, which killed 11, the Times of Israel reported: here.